The Path of Love
There are times when it might appear as if the Bible contradicts itself. We read one thing in one verse and then completely the opposite in another. This can be confusing and leave us in doubt as to what is really being said. However, I have come to see that, very often, these apparent contradictions are simply like a before and after photograph. One verse might describe us before something happens and then the other shows what we are like once a significant event has taken place.
I want to look at one of these apparent contradictions.
"And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." (John 14:13-14 NIV)
In these verses Jesus clearly shows us that he stands in the gap and that through him we have access to the Father. A truly wonderful thing. He will take the things we ask him for, to the Father on our behalf. This is a powerful and comforting truth.
Yet only a couple of chapters later Jesus appears to say the opposite.
"In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf." (John 16:23&26 NIV)
Remember that these two scenarios were both said around the same meal table. Remember too, that the disciples were facing a confusing and tragic story being played out in front of them.
These two verses are not contradictory. They describe two different points in time and something very significant has happened between them. Between these two statements Jesus has reassured his disciples that he will always be with them, but most importantly that they are not being left as orphans. The Holy Spirit of Sonship will fill their hearts and they will be transformed from orphans to sons.
We are given the reason for this transformation: "The Father himself loves you" (John 16:27).
And so it is for us. Because we are being loved by the Father, Jesus says we have direct access to him. We can talk to the Father ourselves simply because he loves us! We are no longer orphans where we hide away and feel we can only come through Jesus. Each one of us can come directly to the Father.
Through the last few chapters of John's gospel we see another transition taking place. In John 15, Jesus says we are no longer servants but friends. After the resurrection we are drawn more deeply into relationship: we are his brothers and we share the same Father. Why? Because the Father himself loves us.
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